You'll notice two things about the Ford Edge: It's bigger than it seems in TV commercials and it's a lot better looking. For some reason, the marketing geniuses used copper-colored vehicles in ads, but they come across as boring orange. The one we drove, in handsome metal-flake pewter, looked downright elegant.
The car, SUV, or crossover (take your pick) was a pleasure in many other ways as well. For starters, it was one of the more comfortable vehicles we've driven. Seats are slightly more accommodating than most, and pedals and steering wheel adjust for a nearly perfect driving position. What could be better? Heated seats, of course. A leather seat on a cold Midwest morning is not fanny friendly. But flick the little black button and you're tempted to leave the coat at home.
Second-row seats recline and also fold completely forward for a decent amount of cargo space. And get this: The standard center console has movable dividers that can be positioned 12 different ways to hold stuff such as cell phones and laptops. Even the optional touchscreen nav system is intuitive enough to use successfully on first try.
Ford developed a 3.5-liter V6 for the Edge that pumps out 265 hp at 6,250 rpm and gives the SUV enough snap to catch the attention of any cop. Coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, the vehicle scored 19.9 mpg during a week of mostly stop--and-go driving. EPA estimates about 25 mpg on the highway.
To drive the camshafts, Ford added a low-friction roller chain, rather than a belt that will need replacing. Also, a dual-plenum intake manifold helps the aluminum engine generate 250 lb-ft of peak torque. The engine is manufactured by high-pressure die casting that forms a deep-skirt-cylinder block, which minimizes noise and vibration. The vehicle has plenty of guts. In fact, I'd give up some of that muscle for a few more mpg.
The Edge I drove never hesitated from a loss of traction and always came to a controlled stop. If the AWD and stability controls were working, it was difficult to tell, and that's the way it should be.
Ford says the Edge's optional panoramic Vista Roof (actually two windows) covers about 40% of the roof area with glass that's three-times larger than most moon roofs. The front panel opens but the back does not, and both have power sunshades. Thick glass minimizes wind noise. Online prices list the least-expensive yet well-equipped Edge at under $26,000.